French Ambassador To Honor Plessy During Louisiana Visit

LAFAYETTE, La. (AP) — France’s ambassador to the U.S. plans to attend a ceremony honoring Homer Plessy during a visit to Louisiana to strengthen longstanding ties between his country and the state.

Plessy’s decision to sit in a “whites-only” railroad car to protest discrimination led to the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1896 “separate but equal” ruling affirming state segregation laws. A Louisiana board earlier this month voted in favor of a posthumous pardon for Plessy.

Ambassador Philippe Etienne is scheduled to attend a ceremony for Plessy on Tuesday during a three-day visit to Louisiana, news outlets reported. He was in Lafayette on Sunday and told KATC he was honored to be there.

“The people are so hospitable, and there is such a close, friendly, warm relationship between this region and France, through history but also all our cultural and educational programs,” he said.

On Monday, Etienne was scheduled to visit Myrtle Place Elementary School, one of Louisiana’s longest-running French Immersion schools, according to news outlets. He was also expected to meet Gov. John Bel Edwards in Baton Rouge and Mayor LaToya Cantrell in New Orleans.